Skip to comments.One Stop Catholic Drive Thru
Posted on 10/29/2013 3:12:32 PM PDT by NYer
The ancient idea of a parish community was that it was coterminous with the geographical parish. Village people lived around the village church and the community of families also comprised the community of faith.
No more. At least not in America. Instead, with the suburban motorcar-driven society we church shop. Furthermore, there are plenty of Catholic shops on offer. In our town, for instance we have one church which offers traditional liturgy influenced heavily by the Anglican tradition–beautiful building, excellent servers, fine music. Then we have the Franciscan parish–African American gospel music, a strong emphasis on peace and justice, lively preaching and involvement with the poor. Across town we have a couple of typical American suburban parishes–easy going contemporary music, large, active congregations, busy youth work, Life Teen Mass, huge CCD program. On the other side of town a parish offers the Extraordinary Form every week–indeed every day. The parish school is thriving and a busy, enthusiastic traditionalist crowd fills the pews.
So people church shop. It is a reality. It has its strengths and weaknesses. The down side is that we lose the natural wide spread kind of local community that has been part of church understanding for eons. People are scattered and it’s hard to get them together. On the other hand, if people church shop they are more likely to end up in a church they like and more likely to be committed to that congregation and ministry. Or so the theory goes. In fact, I have noticed something else creeping in which makes my job as a pastor even more difficult.
The church shopping has started to disintegrate. Not only do people church shop in order to find a church community to which they want to belong, but they church shop from week to week. I have an increasing number of people who say, “I belong to two parishes.” or “You may not see us every week Father, we divide our time between three different parishes.” or “We’re glad to belong to your parish, but we often like to go to the Latin Mass at —” or “I like this parish, but I also like Fr —’s homilies, and we go there sometimes too.” Even more disturbing are the people who cherry pick the different ministries from different churches. “We go to — for the Youth Group and really like —here in your parish for our Middle Schooler. Your parish school is great, but we like going to Fr — for Mass.”
How on earth is a pastor supposed to build any kind of community in a parish when people treat the church like a hamburger joint? You can’t even address this very easily because Americans are a nation of shoppers. They are used to having it their way. The customer is king and they are used to being royalty. They don’t like being told what to do. They will shop and choose what they want where they want it and you better deliver or they will go somewhere else.
Now, I don’t mind being the servant of the servants of God, but I can’t be their servant if they aren’t servants as well. The Christian ideal is that we serve one another as we serve God together. I’m getting the impression more and more that I’m serving the tables for some rather demanding customers and furthermore, if things don’t go well you better believe I’m not going to get a hefty tip.
Catholics in American need to understand that the Catholic faith is a community, not a commodity. I sometimes feel like putting a drive thru window in our new church. I could pipe some organ music over the PA system while they’re waiting in line, then hand over the sacrament with a little leaflet containing a Bible reading and short meditation and you know what?
It would probably be a roaring success. Furthermore, if I charged the amount most people would pay for a car full of folks at a drive through each week we would have no money problems.
It seems as if parishioners are cherry-picking the exceptions to the general mediocrity.
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I think Father makes some good points.
We “RCIA” shopped when we decided to become Catholics.
If churches would quit treating Christ’s body like a happy meal, and start making ambassadors for Christ, like we’re SUPPOSED to do, perhaps people would stop long enough to listen and learn.
Agreed. I had to laugh, though, at his suggestion of charging admission. When I was a child, we moved to Oceanside NY. Our "local parish" was St. Anthony's which was also a shrine. Attending mass on Sunday meant navigating our way through tour buses. Mass was held in the shrine. At its entrance, were turnstiles with an admission charge of: 25 cents/adults and 10 cents/children. My mother's ire lasted 3 visits before we went shoping for a different parish. I was all of 10 but I can still vividly see those turnstiles and smell the fumes emanating from my mom : -0.
That must have been quite a scene. Fr. Longenecker would probably laugh at that, too.
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The carnality of the Catholic faith is stunning.
"NOW faith is the substance of things HOPED FOR, the EVIDENCE of things NOT SEEN." (Heb. 11:1).
If their outer man isn't satisfied, they are not interested.
Yup. We eat a lot of beef.
Sadly, there's too many non-Catholic churches that are in the same position.
I think this is indicative of our society as a whole.
People want to be entertained (itching ears and all) than to be made or to make disciples and be ambassadors for Christ.
They don't like being taken out of their comfort zones.
Yes! You hit the nail on the head. I amazed what other non Catholics were saying. What I thought right away was catholics were doing the church shopping others do. Lol. And it is really the American Independent self thing brought to the church.
I agree with the independent streak. When you consider our history and ancestors, anyone who leaves their country for greener pastures half a world away is no wimp.
Add to that the entitlement mentality this culture has developed and this is the result.
1 leg of lamb, bone in.
2 entire heads of garlic
Handful of coarse kosher salt
In the pan, bring the leg to room temperature and cut 100 slits in under the fat
Tuck an entire peeled clove of garlic into each slit (the more the better)
Sprinkle the kosher salt over the fat side (turned up)
Middle rack in oven
500F for 45 minutes
400F for 45 minutes
Let sit for 10 minutes
During roasting, halve potatoes (or what you will), slick them in lamb fat and putting the sliced side down, roast for an hour.
Loosen belt. A lot.